Nurses at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie have been fighting for a new three-year contract. On August 12, nurses finally won and ratified a new contract that helps recruit and retain nurses. The breakthrough came as nurses tirelessly mobilized and spoke out against the unsafe working and patient care conditions they face.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Vassar nurses working on the frontlines have been understaffed and under-resourced. They did not receive COVID-19 crisis pay unlike healthcare workers at many other hospitals, all while Vassar’s executives received raises and large bonuses.
Hundreds of Vassar nurses held an amazing informational picket line that was attended by community groups, elected officials, and labor allies. Nurses escalated their campaign and brought their message to the streets of Poughkeepsie and to the corporate home of Vassar’s parent company, Nuvance Health, in Danbury, Connecticut.
A mobile billboard circled around both towns asking residents to call on hospital executives and tell them to settle a fair contract. The mobile billboards garnered the attention of over nine Connecticut newspapers and also featured Vassar nurse Lianne Lotaj, RN, who spoke out on the unsafe staffing conditions and need for retention incentives at Vassar.
Congratulations to the Vassar nurses for their persistence throughout this contract campaign and their dedication to their colleagues, patients and community!